President General, Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs and Sultan of Sokoto, Mr Muhammad Saad Abubakar Friday received Catholic Bishops of Nigeria in his palace, and urged all religious leaders to collectively come together and preach against violence before, during and after elections.
“We must tell ourselves the truth and speak the truth. Everything is not ok in Nigeria. Let’s stop hiding under religion, ethnicity or region. I know we have problems in Nigeria. Let’s not deceive ourselves,” he stated.
He noted: “There is no fight between Christianity and Islam. But maybe disagreement between Muslims and Christians. But we must try and fish out extremist in our midst. Though, you cannot completely fish out bad eggs from the society. But we should continue in doing our part to ensure a peaceful country.”
The religious leader pointed out: “No society is made up of 100 percent saints. We have our problems and challenges. But we should collectively try and overcome them. As leaders, we must try and work for peace. No problem in this world that defies solution unless we are not honest. If not, we will overcome the problems.”
The Sultan harped on unity. “We must also educate our followers that despite the challenges, we belong to one God Almighty but chooses to worship God in different ways,” he said
The royal father called on Nigerians to stop hiding under the cover of religion to perpetuate evils.
He noted that many leaders use religion to better their lives. “We must remember that as leaders, we must work for peace.”
He also spoke against killing of innocent people in the name of religion. “People have wrong notion of Jihad. You cannot kill people pretending you are fighting for God. You are simply deceiving yourself. Jihad does not entail that,” he asserted.
Sultan added: “God did not create you to fight for Him.”
“We should however look at the too many things that bind us together and try to take our religion back from the enemies who are bent on using the religion to commit crimes”.
Earlier, National President Catholic Bishops of Nigeria, Mr Augustine Akubeze lauded the Sultan for his roles on interfaith peace and peaceful coexistence in the country.
Also speaking Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, Mr Onaiyekan noted the need for peace amongst religious leaders and for then to work towards ensuring peaceful coexistence.
He asked: “If we cannot get peace amongst religious leaders, how can we get peace amongst the people?”
In a remark, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Dioceses, Mr Matthew Kukah acknowledged the Sultan’s cordiality to all irrespective of religion and other leanings.